Antrim’s John Simpson will make his Manx Grand Prix debut with Splitlath Redmond Racing this weekend on the famous Isle of Man TT Circuit, riding his favoured 675 Triumph in the opening practice session on Saturday evening.
The 21-year-old, who won the 2011 British Supersport Cup championship, started this season in the European Superstock Series but sees this as an opportunity to really establish himself as a road racer before the introduction of the hugely anticipated Road Racing World Series in 2014.
“My only interest was in circuit racing until I raced at Aberdare Park this past two years. I loved the experience, but the big attraction for me is the TT World Series,” he explained.
Simpson has shown great promise on the national scene in Great Britain but like many of his peers the step from junior cup classes to full blown British championship is as much about budget as it is about talent.
So this tie up with BSB team Splitlath Redmond Racing is a great opportunity for the Antrim handyman as he prepares for the Newcomers, Junior and Senior Manx events.
“I got on well with the Splitlath guys last year when they brought me in to replace Hudson Kennaugh in the Superbike team and they want to get involved in international road racing, so it suits us both,” he explained.
Simpson’s only trip to the Isle of Man to date was for last season’s Manx GP as a guest of Motorsport Manager Paul Phillips.
Despite his lack of on-site track knowledge he’s been doing his homework.
“I’ve been flat out watching on-boards, but it’s not so important for me to go and win the Newcomers race,” he explained.
“John McGuinness gave me good pointers, telling me to take my time and learn the place.
“Explaining that it’s all about momentum and being smooth, I can’t wait to get started.
“I’ve thought about nothing else since we made the decision to go.”